RUSH leaders gathered for a two-part Nursing Think Tank Retreat in February and April of 2022. These leaders included RUSH chief nursing officers, program and department directors, clinical nurse leaders, advanced practice providers, as well as the dean and faculty from the RUSH College of Nursing, among others from RUSH and its health care partners. During the retreat, participants were asked to use their commitment, experience and passion to come up with creative solutions to the challenges in health care.
The first retreat focused on addressing the obstacles facing inpatient care, ambulatory care and nursing education, including finding strategies to help with the shortage of nurses in the workforce. As a result of this retreat, four workgroups were formed — inpatient, ambulatory, education, and pipeline and partnerships — each led by a chief nursing officer or dean. These groups were tasked with examining key opportunities and potential solutions within their respective areas.
The inpatient workgroup will identify three key opportunities to be further explored and prioritized: staffing and onboarding, compensation and employee burnout. The ambulatory workgroup will hone in on opportunities related to recruitment and retention, technology and collaboration. The education workgroup will develop strategies to increase the number of ready-to-work nurses in the RUSH system, boost the number of teaching faculty and optimize and harmonize nursing education across the system. Lastly, the pipeline and partnerships workgroup will investigate program partnerships for the undergraduate nursing program, think through the role of the associate’s degree in the nursing discipline, consider how and whether to provide sponsored students with loan forgiveness as a result of a service commitment, develop more robust career pipelines and review further industry partnerships for nurses and nursing assistive care.
RUSH seeks to create a nursing workforce strategic steering committee that would be charged with reviewing and ensuring progress in RUSH’s nursing workforce strategies, keeping stakeholders informed about the retreat’s outcomes and the ongoing progress from the efforts of the workgroups and, finally, building on the momentum and involvement of the retreat participants in the fight against today's health care challenges.